By: Dick Brown
Members of the Tamarac City Commission Meeting on Wednesday evening once again threw The Pines at Woodmont III community under the bus.
The commission, voted 4 to 1 to allow Golf Course Owner Mark Schmidt to build his 123,304 square foot maintenance compound on the defunct Pines course property behind the homes in Pines III. It’s unconscionable to even consider building what really is be an industrial complex in a residential community.
Commissioner Placko started off strong, showing she was against it. She stated the reasons – dangerous chemicals, feral cats and vermin all living on the property. But in the end, only one Commissioner had the courage to vote for the homeowners, City Commissioner Marlon Bolton. We could tell at the onset that Mayor Harry Dressler, a Woodmont resident, was quite in favor of the project just by his line of questioning.
We were very disappointed that Vice Mayor Placko voted in favor of Schmidt.
A petition signed by 100 percent of the homeowners in Pines III was presented. Pictures of what the current maintenance shack looks like now were presented to the commission. Mr. Schmidt disputed that. He testified under oath, that wasn’t the real maintenance shack. Testified that it was now all in a 9,000 square foot shed. Probably just an alternate fact, because just a few weeks ago, under oath, at the planning board meeting, testimony was given that three small storage sheds were being used. So indeed, the pictures presented were accurate. They were accepted as evidence and given to the city clerk.
This maintenance complex was never in the original plan approved by Tamarac. The complex was supposed to be built just off of University and 78th Street. Schmidt said they couldn’t get access from Broward County for egress onto University Drive.
To hide this from the view of Pines III residents, they agreed to build an eight foot barrier wall. Supposedly, complete landscaping is going to be done to try to beautify it, but based on past performance Schmidt has never ever done anything that he’s promised to do. Access to the complex will be 82nd street, that street that was uglified when they made the two lane street a one lane street – a street that’s only four blocks long. A street that will now have, two golf cart paths with egress on both sides of 82nd street, plus traffic from University Drive, from 80th Avenue/81st Street, from Walgreens, from Renaissance Charter school, from BB&T Bank, from Nutmeg, from Cassia Terrace, from Hibiscus Circle, from the new Pod A, from the new maintenance complex. Plus there are two bicycle lanes that vehicles are now driving on while waiting to get in and out of the school. That’s 12 ways to get on to a street that’s four blocks long.
Safety issues abound: Children are standing on the corner of Hibiscus and 82nd street waiting for the school bus, as well as walking to three different schools. Talk about an accident waiting to happen. All falls under, “What could they possibly be thinking?”
Schmidt was asked to place this maintenance complex, somewhere else. He claimed there was nowhere else to put it. Of course there was. He has a piece of land on Southgate and Pine Island zoned commercial. He could have put it there. He has a strip of land, just alongside the bowling alley. He could have put it there. He has two practice
areas. He could have put it there. He has the site just off of University Drive, he could have figured out how to put it there. Or he could have built three new maintenance sheds and placed them in strategic locations on the property. All of these other choices would have no impact on an ugly little street, 82nd Street, that Tamarac bastardized by taking away two lanes and creating almost never-used bike lanes.
Making conditions even worse, at the end of the school day, children are being picked up in the Walgreen’s parking lot. To do that the children have to cross in the middle of the block.
Shame on our Tamarac Mayor Harry Dressler, Vice Mayor Debra Placko, Commissioners Michelle Gomez and Julie Fishman all who voted to approve the maintenance complex. Kudos to Marlon Bolton who voted against it and for the people. We think the reason the vote went the way it did was that after living with the defunct Pines course in the shabby run down uncared for condition that Schmidt created, they felt compelled to do something even if it was and is detrimental to the citizens of Tamarac.
So, they voted in favor of the man who caused this blight on our community.
The communities that are going to be adversely affected by it are. Pines III, The new Pod A, Nutmeg, Cassia Terrace and the Renaissance Charter School, and the over burdened ugliest street in Tamarac, 82nd Street. There are definite safety issues, all brought up at the meeting. Indeed all of Woodmont will suffer for this very bad decision, and what can we do about it now?
Certainly this maintenance complex could be placed elsewhere without endangering life or limb.
We wonder whose community will be next on the hit list?